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Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 6)

Summary

Effective from: 8am on 22 August 2020

Posted: 22 August 2020

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 31 December 2020 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Preamble

  1. This Public Health Direction replaces the Public Health Direction referred to as the Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 5) made on 10 July 2020.
  2. This Public Health Direction is to be read in conjunction with other Public Health Directions issued under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 that have not expired or been revoked.

Citation

  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 6).

Revocation

  1. The Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 5) made on on 10 July 2020 is revoked from 8:00 am on 22 August 2020.

Commencement

  1. This Direction applies from 8:00 am on Saturday 22 August 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced.

PART 1 — REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL HOSPITALS

  1. This part applies to all hospitals in the State of Queensland.
  2. A person, other than a patient of the hospital, must not enter, or remain at, a hospital in the State of Queensland from the time of publication of this direction until the end of the declared public health emergency if:
    1. the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19, unless the person is no longer subject to a direction to self-isolate under section 362B or section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005; or
    2. the person is subject to a direction to self-quarantine under section 362B or section 362H of the Public Health Act 2005; or
    3. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person arrived in Australia from a place outside Australia; or
    4. during the 14 days immediately preceding the entry, the person had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19; or
    5. the person has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection.
  3. The operator of a hospital in the State of Queensland must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain within a hospital if the person is prohibited from doing so under paragraph 7.

PART 2 — DIRECTION – MANAGING VISITOR ACCESS TO NON-RESTRICTED HOSPITALS

Visiting patients

  1. For hospital visits other than an end of life visit, a maximum of two visitors may visit a patient at one time.

    Example: A pregnant patient’s partner and the patient’s support person may visit at the same time during the patient’s labour.

  2. For end of life visits, more than two visitors may visit a patient at one time.

    Note - all visitors remain subject to each hospital’s clinical guidelines for COVID-19. These clinical guidelines may be more restrictive than this direction, for example, in relation to the number and type of visitors.

PART 3 — DIRECTION – MANAGING VISITOR ACCESS TO RESTRICTED HOSPITALS

Visiting patients in a restricted area

  1. Subject to paragraph 12, a patient of a hospital in a restricted area may not have visitors.
  2. The following patients of a restricted hospital may have visitors in accordance with the hospital’s clinical guidelines for COVID-19 approved by the operator of the hospital:
    1. a patient of the hospital who is a child; or
    2. a patient of the hospital being provided end of life care; or
    3. a patient of the hospital being provided pregnancy or maternity related care; or
    4. other patients that the operator of the hospital believes is necessary to have visitors for emergency or other compassionate grounds.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:

  1. End of life visit means a hospital visit by a person for the purposes of end-of-life support for a patient of the hospital.
  2. Hospital means:
    1. a hospital, as defined in schedule 2 to the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011; or
    2. a private health facility, as defined in section 8 of the Private Health Facilities Act 1999; or
    3. a multi-purpose service, as defined in section 104 of the Subsidy Principles 2014 made under section 96-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).
  3. Operator of a hospital means a person who owns, controls or operates the hospital.
  4. Patient of the hospital means a person who requests or is being provided with health, medical or pharmaceutical services by the hospital.
  5. Restricted area means a particular area of Queensland decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.
  6. Restricted hospital means a hospital located in a restricted area.

Exemption power

  1. The Chief Health Officer may, in writing, grant an exemption from this direction in respect of a specified area of a hospital if the Chief Health Officer is satisfied, having regard to the need to limit the spread of COVID-19, that an exemption is appropriate due to:
    1. the nature of the area; or
    2. the existing limits on the number of people that may be present in the area (whether because of the operation of a direction under the Public Health Act 2005 or otherwise).

PART 2 - PENALTIES

  1. A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.
  2. Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:
    • A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
    • Maximum penalty—100 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer

22 August 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website 22 August 2020 at 8am

Last updated: 22 August 2020

Understanding this Direction

Information to help you understand what this Direction means for visiting people in hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

Find out more